by Stacey Embry,
Director,
Morgan County Library

Programming
Summer Reading Program (SRP) ended Wednesday, July 28 of this year, after nine weeks of programming. Each Wednesday, we offered weekly story times/events for three different age groups; toddler to 7; 8 to 11; and 12 to 18. Our total attendance was 439, better than the 2020 COVID virtual SRP, but still lower than past programs. This year, we offered “on location” story times at the city pool and “farm” virtual story times that were shared on our Facebook page throughout the last weeks of July. Even though the numbers were not comparable to 2019 numbers, it was so nice to feel like things were getting back to normal. That being said, I am not sure we are back there yet, more on that later.
SRP is the biggest and longest programming we offer and involves months of planning, volunteers, and community support. Brittany and Kelly start in the fall by attending a workshop that introduces the theme for the year. In December, they sit down with the CSLP (Collaborative Summer Library Program) catalog to pick out the backpacks and other fun goodies that are part of every SRP.
In the spring, they start planning each week’s event: the book selection, if there is a presenter, crafts, snacks, and volunteers. This means pulling or ordering books to use, giving me a list of things to buy and making phone calls. These phone calls also include contacting various community businesses to help provide funding and items for our incentives.
Then May arrives, faster than we are ever ready for, and Kate jumps in, preparing all the fun decorations and awesome displays. Speaking of Kate, she even changed her regular day off to help give us an extra hand on Wednesdays; we couldn’t have done it without her. While Brittany, Kelly, and I were leading our three groups, she and Shirley were running the library.
Not only does my staff deserve kudos and praise, let’s spend some time acknowledging our presenters, volunteers, and sponsors.
Carol and Doc Jones visited during the “Working with Animals/Animal Careers” week. Missouri author, David Harrison, was our presenter the week we celebrated all things Missouri, in recognition of the Bicentennial. The Stover Animal Shelter brought a sweet “doggo” for their week and our patrons raised $163 for the shelter. Bailey Marriot brought a cow for her week. Yep, we had a cow at the library. No worries, it hung out by the pavilion. Runge Nature Center visited us and brought an owl, well it was a stuffed owl, but nonetheless, still pretty cool. Our last presenter was Hailey Colvin, and I am pretty sure I heard a cock-a-doodle-doo when she was here.
We had a crew of volunteers that showed up over the nine-week time period, most of them more than once, heck, more than twice: Brenda Steffens, Mary Jo Jackson, Margie Kurke, Kathy Jones, Kat Boyd, Katie Eckhoff, and I’m pretty sure we roped Erik Rottman into coming in to read a story or two.
Our sponsors provide the resources for us to make attendance at programming and reading, rewarding on another level besides just the normal, “thanks for participating.” The sponsors help us provide weekly incentives, including treats, books, etc., prizes for those who complete our incentive chart, and grand prizes for those who finish the chart and their reading record. Thank you to: Vonda Greenwalt of American Family Insurance, B&B Drive In, Bank of Versailles, Bee’s Knees, Brenda Steffens, Century 21 Landmark Realty, Citizen’s Bank, Dale Hollow, Dear Dental, Emme’s Attic, G2M Supermarket, Gates, McDonalds, Ozark Bait & Tackle, Pizza Hunt, The Royal Theater, Sonic, Teeple Insurance, Vera Cruz and the Westlake Aquatic Center.
Thank you to this community that recognizes the value of promoting reading during the summer for not only our kiddos, but to all who want to participate. Yep, not “normal” yet, but, boy it was so much better than 2020.
Upcoming Events: 8/18 Story Time 10 a.m., 8/19 OUR Story 4 p.m., 8/21 Farmers’ Market 9 a.m. to noon, 8/21 Saturday Story Time 10:30 a.m.
For more information, visit the Morgan County Library at 600 N. Hunter, call 573-378-5319 or see the library’s website at morgancountylibrary.org. Library hours are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

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